Merlin explains, White Nose Syndrome (WNS) has now spread from coast to coast despite our best efforts. There is no longer hope of stopping, slowing or finding a cure that can be effectively applied. It is time to focus on helping the survivors rebuild populations from resistant remnants. Further surveys to detect spread of WNS have become pointless.
White-Nose Syndrome: New Policies Needed for Cave
Management | Merlin Tuttle
October 18, 2016
New Policies Needed for Cave Management
By Merlin Tuttle
Merlin has updated our White-Nose Syndrome resource page. As he explains, WNS has now spread from
coast to coast despite our best efforts. There is no longer hope of stopping, slowing or finding a cure that can
be effectively applied. It is time to focus on helping the survivors rebuild populations from resistant remnants.
Further surveys to detect spread of WNS have become pointless. We can’t help except by strictly protecting
weakened survivors from disturbance, especially during hibernation.
Members of the National Speleological Society have been extremely cooperative in efforts to slow or stop
WNS, even agreeing to cease activities in their favorite caves, including many that do not support bats. There
is no longer justification for closure of caves not needed by bats. In fact permitting wider caver access
increases opportunities for recognition and protection of caves of past importance to bats, where populations
could be restored with protection.
Many caves that once provided critical habitat for bats remain unprotected simply because they lost their bats
so long ago, that their importance is no longer recognized. No one is better prepared to detect report and help
protect such sites than organized cavers, and it is time for governmental and private conservation
organizations to maximize cooperation with this key group of concerned volunteers. In this update Merlin
provides helpful guidance on recognition of long lost bat caves that could be restored and urges full
A field team is measuring bat roost stains in a limestone cave in Mexico to assess its approximate past
importance to bats. Domed ceilings in warm caves are often extra darkly stained and etched due to heavy use
by nursery colonies.
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